Hard-line officials in China's Ministry of Film, Television, and Radio sent 100 television employees to live with peasants in a northeast province for four months, Chinese sources said Sunday. The idea came from a speech 50 years ago by the late chairman Mao Zedong, who urged artists to take their cue from farmers and laborers.
The television staff included those involved in news broadcasts. The ministry also sent a batch of television employees for six months of Army training last year.
The head of China's Film Bureau, Teng Jinxian, recently said film workers should also be sent to learn basic values from the masses.
Mr. Teng said Mao's famous 1942 speech on art and literature should inspire modern movie makers.
"We must encourage and urge artists to experience life with the masses," Teng told the current edition of China Film Weekly.
Chinese film sources said Teng's call was likely to be ignored because of a lack of enthusiasm and money.
"Previously, our studio would have sent everyone down, but now it will not implement it," said a worker at Beijing Film Studio. "For one, people will refuse to go."
In addition, China's cash-starved film studios do not have the resources.
"Sending a group of people away for several months costs a lot of money," another film employee said. "Where's the financial return?"